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Kevin Schnepf, Published August 20 2013

Bohl says Bison needed to practice in heat

FARGO – Tuesday’s 94-degree heat was welcomed with open – and sweaty – arms by North Dakota State football coach Craig Bohl.

“We needed this,” Bohl said at noon Tuesday, when his team trotted off the newly installed artificial practice surface where the heat index rose above 105 degrees.

“This is only our second hot day in full pads. I was actually concerned when we were practicing in

60-degree temperatures,” Bohl said. “I know that game is going to be at 7:30 at night, but late in the fourth quarter is when guys really become fatigued. So to try and replicate that, there is really nothing better than practicing in this heat.”

It certainly could be hot when the two-time defending champion Bison play at Kansas State to open their season Aug. 30. In August, the average high temperature in Manhattan, Kan., is 91 degrees.

“It will be what it is,” Bohl said. “I do know on days like today, I don’t think it’s going to be hotter than this.”

Three years ago, the Bison opened the season at Kansas – located in Lawrence 75 miles from Manhattan. The game-time temperature that early September night was 78 degrees.

And the Bison left Lawrence with a surprising 6-3 win. Pulling off a win in Manhattan will be a much bigger challenge considering Kansas State was in the hunt for a BCS title last season.

“There is a big difference between Kansas and Kansas State,” Bohl said. “It’s going to be an uphill challenge. Our guys have always enjoyed those opportunities, so we’ll see how we do.”

The guys Bohl was referring to are a group of 26 seniors, many of whom played as freshmen in the 2010 game at Kansas. They went on to reach the FCS quarterfinals that season, falling in overtime at Eastern Washington.

Since then, this group has not lost a road game en route to its two national championships.

“We are more seasoned but nonetheless, it’s a big, big ball game for us,” Bohl said.

Bohl said there are currently no major injuries with his team. “Everybody we are counting on will be playing Friday the 30th,” he said.

That includes linebacker Travis Beck, who has been nursing a sore shoulder that he dealt with late last season. Bohl said he wore a strap on the shoulder and was able to participate in drills Monday.

“We anticipate he’ll be ready to go at game time,” Bohl said.

Beck pleaded guilty Monday in Cass County District Court to resisting arrest, a charge linked to a brawl outside a downtown Fargo bar on June 9. Video evidence pulled from city surveillance cameras and local businesses led the state’s attorney office to drop more serious felony aggravated assault charges against Beck last month.

Since then, Beck was re-instated to the team. Bohl confirmed Monday’s plea did not change Beck’s status with the team.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549